Poster

Mickey's Pal Pluto

A Mickey Mouse Cartoon

Release Date : February 18, 1933

Running Time : 7:36

Synopsis

Pluto rescues some kittens, but when Mickey and Minnie seem to treat them well at his own expense, his evil side (shown as a devil dog) convinces him to start a rivalry with the kits.

Characters

Mickey Mouse
Minnie Mouse
Pluto

Credits

Director
Bert Gillett
Animation
Johnny Cannon
Les Clark
Frenchy de Tremaudan
Norm Ferguson

DVD

United States
Mickey Mouse in Black and White Volume 2
Germany
Mickey Mouse in Black and White Volume 2

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 27: Meow! The Disney Cats
Donald's Quack Attack: Episode 23
The Mickey Mouse Club : January 20, 1956

Technical Specification

Color Type: Black & White
Animation Type: Standard animation
Sound Mix: Mono
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Negative Format: 35mm
Print Format: 35mm
Cinematographic Process: Spherical
Original Language: English

Released by United Artists Pictures

Comments


From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : It was bound to happen. After the trifecta of Mickey’s Good Deed, Building a Building and The Mad Doctor, the law of average says that we’ll run into a bad Mickey Mouse short sooner or later. Well, it wasn’t today. Mickey’s Pal Pluto is really a Pluto cartoon, more than Mickey, but no matter who the star is, it’s a fantastic cartoon.

The short is a classic Pluto set up – Mickey, Minnie and Pluto find a bag of kittens floating down the river and rescue them. But it doesn’t take long until Pluto starts getting jealous of the little guys, and chases them through the house. Mickey tosses him out for causing trouble, but Pluto redeems himself by rescuing the kittens from a well.

That’s a simplistic summary, but the work by the Disney team makes it so much more. Let’s start with the classic angel vs. devil hook. As Pluto sees the kittens and is dying to chase them, he gets confronted by his better nature and his devilish side in a cartoon classic.

Having the angel and devil confront one of your characters seems cliché today, but in 1933, it was something different. I’m not sure if this was the first time it was used in cartoons, but this is the first time I can remember seeing it in the Disney films I’ve watched. It’s such a great device, and it works especially well for Pluto.

This short lays out a formula that will serve Pluto well in the future when he becomes more and more a part of the Disney cartoon family. Pluto getting jealous over Mickey’s affections and trying to insert himself between Mickey and others pops up many times over the years. So does Mickey getting on to Pluto only to see Pluto redeem himself later in the short. These are things that make Pluto work.

The great thing is that this is a real development of Pluto’s character, which we haven’t seen in other shorts. In the past, Pluto merely chased cats or caused chaos all around the house as he ran by. Here, he has a real personality. You feel empathy when Mickey kicks him out, because Pluto really didn’t do anything wrong. You also kind of want him to terrorize the kittens, which is a testament to how sympathetic a character he is.

Pluto’s dramatic rescue of the kittens from the well is a great piece of work, but it’s just one of many. There’s a fantastic sequence where Minnie is trying to rock the kittens to sleep and is singing a lullaby, while the animation shows the kittens escaping and wreaking havoc in another part of the house. The juxtaposition between the two is brilliant.

There’s so much to love in this short, it’s hard to single it all out. It really does seem as though late 1932 and early 1933 is the peak of the Mickey Mouse shorts so far. Everything has been pretty good to great, and that continued here.


From Mac : I've got to agree with everything in your review, Ryan. This one does a great job building a great deal of empathy for Pluto who keeps getting the blame for things he hasn't done. Who hasn't felt like that once in a while?

This is the first appearance of Pluto's shoulder angel and devil who'll pop up again from time to time. They were even used (very entertainingly) in the fairly recent Mickey Mouse Works. One odd thing is that in his earliest scenes, the angel seems to have (a pretty dodgy attempt at) an Indian accent. Perhaps this was a reference to Gandhi who who must have been the most obvious example of a man of peace at the time. Curiously though, the angel loses this accent over the course of the short and at the end does a Jimmy Durante "Ha-Cha-Cha-Cha"!


From Jerry Edwards : At the end of the cartoon, when the cats fall into a well, Pluto and his angel-self rescue them. A nicely-done short - makes me feel sorry for Pluto when Mickey and Minnie ignore him while playing with the kittens and blame him for the mischief the kittens get into. I enjoy the Jimmy Durante "tribute" at the end, where the angelic Pluto goes, "A cha-cha-cha," one of several Durante tributes throughout early Mickey cartoons.
From Ryan : When I saw this short, I really felt sorry for Pluto. Once he rescued the kittens from drowning (actually the water had floating ice on it so the kittens would've been more likely to die of hypothermia), Minnie and Mickey paid more attention to them than to him. This, in my opinion, was a lot better than its remake in 1941. Pretty cute short if I do say so myself.
From Bill I. : When I first saw this short, I was very surprised that Mickey and Minnie ignored Pluto after he finds the kittens in the river. This short was important because it showed the bonds and love that Mickey has for his dog. This was not a typical "action" Mickey, but had some good sight gags, like the kittens sucking the milk from Mickey's glove when he spilled the bottle. There was also clever use of the good and evil Plutos for his conscience . Poor Pluto was blamed for the mess the kittens caused, and even after Mickey puts him outside and his evil Pluto tells him not to save the kittens in the well, Pluto does anyway. And when Pluto gets trapped in the well, The look on Mickey's face says it all as he runs to save his pal Pluto! A great short.
From Richard Sutor, Ph. D. : This cartoon telegraphs the idea that the character of Pluto is being tested for possible stardom using a great story idea which appears in several future cartoons. Curiously the director of this cartoon Burt Gillett eventually left Disney to revitalize the output of the Van Beuren studio. In June of 1936 his Van Beuren Rainbow Classic cartoon featured a similar plot line but with an all human cast.

Referenced Comments